How to Walk in a Jagged Line

Philip Glass 

Philip Glass’ Etudes are among his best piano works in that befitting the name, etude (which means study), they are technical challenges. Anytime Glass is pushing himself (as opposed to writing minimalist ditty #2398) I enjoy his work.

 I particularly like his Etude number two. Partly this is because I remember watching a performance of it on Classical Arts Showcase and then desiring to get a recording of it. Though I didn’t find it right away, the memory lingered.

And here it is. Philip Glass (mp3) Etude II

What struck me about the music especially was the jagged meter…totally unexpected but mesmerizing and exact. Actually it is a style of music that can be traced to his early organ works which operate by addition and subtraction of notes. But here Glass uses the texture of those early experiments as a springboard to create something truly beautiful.  With so much of Glass’ music seeming to focus on brass, winds, strings in high flying arppegiation, I think I also love the beautiful use of the low registers of the piano.

If you didn’t understand what I meant by meter….just try dancing to the music and see if you can keep up.

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